Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fukuda to meet Bono, Microsoft chief over African development

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will hold talks Saturday with Irish rock singer Bono of the band U2, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to discuss spurring African development.
During the talks on the sidelines of an international forum here in Switzerland, Fukuda plans to seek their cooperation for the success of a meeting in May in Yokohama of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a Japan-led African development initiative, Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said.
Bono, a well-known anti-poverty campaigner, and several other celebrities are expected to attend the Yokohama gathering, the fourth of its kind. Wade attended TICAD's third meeting in Tokyo in 2003.
Bono, Blair, Gates and Wade — all of whom have been actively involved in African development — are seen as telling Fukuda their expectations of the Group of Eight summit in July in Hokkaido, Japan, where African development is one of the four main agenda items, the officials said.
Fukuda will hold talks with the four on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, or the Davos forum, of world political and business leaders.
Japan plans to draw the heads of state and ministers from 53 African countries and representatives from western donor countries and multilateral institutions to the upcoming TICAD meeting.
As well as Bono, Japan has invited Gates and Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Kenya, to the meeting and is sounding out U.S. actress Angelina Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, according to government sources.